Denison Native, Captain Sullenberger, Returns to the Sky - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Denison Native, Captain Sullenberger, Returns to the Sky


Captain "Sully" Sullenberger and co-pilot from the "Miracle on the Hudson" landing are flying together again. Deeda Payton has more on their symbolic reunion.

Many wonder what life is like after you save nearly 200 people in one of the most publicized events of 2009.  Even though he admits a lot has changed, Captain Sullenberger says it's good to be back at work.

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger has officially returned to his flying duties nearly nine months after he successfully made a water ditch landing on the Hudson river. He says he has "Only one request, when I did return, I wanted to be reunited with my crew from flight 1549 on Jan. 15."

Sullenberger shared a symbolic reunion with co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles flying from Charlotte to New York and picking up where they left off on the return flight that was cut short so many months ago. "Traditionally when we finish a trip, the captain and the first officer shake hands and say 'nice trip.' I didn't get to complete that back in January, and I am looking very forward to doing that when we get to charlotte this afternoon."

U.S. Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from New York's Laguardia Airport when a flock of geese knocked out both engines.  Sullenberger made an emergency landing in the Hudson river saving all 155 people on board.  Barry Leonard was one of the survivors of what has become known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." "I think it's really taking it full circle because, ya know, I was on their last flight and now I'm on their first flight again... and honestly, to me, it's just a pleasure, and I really think it's part of the healing process with me."

Sullenberger says his life has changed immensely. The Denison Native is currently writing a book and says he receives a hero's welcome wherever he goes. "People's gratitude is an extraordinary gift that they have chosen to give us. And it offers many opportunities that not in ten normal lifetimes would we have had."

But, Sullenberger and Skiles maintain that they were just doing their jobs. The heroic duo have set their sights on reforms that would raise the qualifying level pilots need to fly in congested airspace like New York.

U.S. Airways has announced that Sully will be joining the airline's safety management team. He will act as a supervisor for other pilots.

Deeda Payton, KTEN News.